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The Standard Steamship Owners' Protection & Indemnity Assn. is setting up a Singapore-based subsidiary, Standard Asia, to provide insurance coverages to Asia Pacific shipowners. . . .CIGNA International, the global operating arm of CIGNA Corp., has joined forces with Polish insurers STU S.A. and STU Life S.A. to establish a Polish joint venture in Warsaw. It is awaiting regulatory approval. . . .Creditors of the collapsed KWELM insurance companies in London will receive a fourth payment under the scheme of arrangement put together by accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand. The latest payment of $158 million brings the total cash pulled together by administrators to just more than $1 billion since the scheme began in late 1993. On average, KWELM creditors will now receive 12% of their losses, which are estimated at $9.2 billion. . . .More than half the stock in Bahrain-based insurer Arab Insurance Group is to be sold to private investors by its current owners, the governments of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and the Central Bank of Libya. ARIG intends to launch a life insurance company next year and plans ultimately to be listed on a Middle East stock exchange. . . Rating agency Standard & Poor's Corp. has affirmed its A+ claims-paying ability rating of Swedish insurer Trygg-Hansa Insurance Co Ltd. S&P cites efficient new management, superior capitalization and a strong business position as factors influencing its decision. . . .Employee benefit consulting firm Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Ltd. has opened a second Indian office in Bangalore. Last year, the consultant set up its first Indian operation, Sedgwick Parekh Health Management (Pte) Ltd., based in Mumbai. . . .Sir Richard Southwell has been appointed president of Lloyd's Appeal Tribunal at Lloyd's of London. The tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by the Lloyd's Disciplinary Tribunals. . . .Philip Bonner has been named vp of specialty products marketing and underwriting at the London office of Capital Re Corp. Mr. Bonner previously was credit and bonds manager with Mercantile

& General Reinsurance Co. P.L.C. . . .Swiss insurer Winterthur Group has announced a 21% increase in profits to 507 million Swiss francs ($352.7 million) for 1996. Gross premiums rose 16% in 1996, to 26 billion Swiss francs ($18.09 billion), and non-life premiums topped 15 billion Swiss francs ($10.44 billion) for the first time. . . .Shareholders at French insurers AXA-UAP and Compagnie UAP have formally approved the merger of Compagnie UAP into AXA-UAP. All Compagnie UAP assets and liabilities-valued at 36.9 billion French francs ($6.47 billion)-will be transferred into AXA-UAP retrospectively as of Jan. 1, 1997. Compagnie UAP shareholders who did not take up last year's public exchange offer will receive two AXA-UAP shares for five Compagnie UAP shares. More than 11.5 million new shares will be issued, increasing AXA-UAP's share capital by 694.5 million francs ($121.7 million). . . .

Nearly half the major claims covered by the UK P&I Club result from cargo damage, with dry bulk cargo accounting for half of them. A safety video issued by the club earlier this month shows water causes most damage, particularly from leaking hatch covers, and bulk carriers are more likely to suffer structural failure than other ships.